American Morning

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January 18th, 2011
08:04 PM ET

CNN Heroes: South African teens get virtual mentoring from all over the world

Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) - When he lost his second parent to HIV/AIDS seven years ago, Ayanda Buthelezi's future seemed bleak.

"I thought maybe God hated us," said Buthelezi, now 22. "We were very scared. ... But I had to be strong for my brother because he was still young."

As orphans in Johannesburg, the Buthelezi brothers were moved to a home for families and children affected by HIV/AIDS. There, they were introduced to their first computer through Infinite Family, a nonprofit started by Amy Stokes. The group connects South African children with caring adults around the world via computer.

"Whatever the cause may be, these children are severely lacking adult attention and guidance," Stokes said. "Kids come into the computer lab because they want this special someone in their lives ... they want to connect with that special someone."

Using a custom, Web-based technology, Infinite Family has so far connected almost 300 South African teens - called Net Buddies - with nearly 200 volunteer mentors from around the world. For at least a half-hour each week, pairs meet face to face on what they call the Ezomndeni-net.

Read more on this story here.

Filed under: CNN Heroes
January 18th, 2011
05:13 PM ET

Share your story: "Good-bye, middle class"

The American Middle Class is hurting.

More and more people are struggling just to get by paycheck to paycheck, and the assault on the middle of the country seems relentless...

* Millions have lost their jobs and their homes
* Life savings and pensions have evaporated
* College tuition costs are up, and students are having trouble paying off loans
* Health care costs are still high despite health care bill passage
* Unemployment is still high, with fewer union jobs available
* Food and gas prices are going up

We want to hear from you. How has the Great Recession affected your life?

Tell us your story and it might be considered for an upcoming series on American Morning.

Filed under: Economy • Great Recession • Middle Class
January 18th, 2011
10:46 AM ET

VP of Asia Society: Chinese Pres. Hu Jintao's visit to U.S. is a 'big deal'

Chinese President Hu Jintao arrives in Washington D.C. today. Tomorrow he will engage in a high-profile meeting with President Obama to discuss trade, currency and a host of other issues. The United States has a lot riding on its relationship with the rising super power to the East and, as a result, many eyes will be watching to see how the meeting between the two leaders goes.

Eliot Spitzer points out on the Parker Spitzer blog that the differences between the U.S. and Chinese economies are still vast; however, the gap is closing quickly:


GDP: $14.7 trillion
Population: 311 million
Per capita GDP: $47,123


GDP: $5.7 trillion
Population: 1.3 billion
Per capita GDP: $7,500

China’s economy is growing at a rate of 10%, while ours is growing at 3%, and their enormous surpluses are permitting them to acquire critical resources around the world. "

Kiran Chetry talks with Jamie Metzl, the Executive Vice President at the Asia Society and a former State Department and National Security Adviser, to discuss the relationship between the two nations. He says, "Any major issue that the United States or the world faces in the 21st century will need to be addressed by China and the United States working together." Hear more from Kiran's interview:

Filed under: China • World
January 18th, 2011
10:35 AM ET

Apple's Steve Jobs: taking medical leave 'to focus on my health'

He's not telling us exactly why or for how long, but Steve Jobs announced Monday he will be taking a leave of absence from his duties as Apple's Chief Executive to focus on his health.

What Jobs has told us, though, is who will replace him during his leave. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will be the man to fill in for the tech legend. Many are worried about Apple's future without Jobs at the helm but Cook has been in this position before; Cook filled in for Jobs during two prior leaves of absence. Those past absences came with Jobs' battle with pancreatic cancer and a liver transplant. Now, many are guessing Jobs' current absence is related to his prior health problems.

T.J. Holmes talks to Leander Kahney, Editor and Publisher of and Author of "Inside Steve's Brain", about what the future holds for Apple in light of Monday's announcement.

Filed under: Tech • Technology
January 18th, 2011
08:23 AM ET

At age 48, 5-time heavyweight champ, Evander Holyfield is still fighting

"I have a goal. My goal ever since 1992 to be the heavyweight champion of the world again."

At age 48, Evander Holyfield isn't letting age stop him in his quest to become a heavyweight champion once again. Over his 26 year career he has fought in countless fights, won 5 heavyweight titles, and even participated in a memorable stint on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." He gets back in the ring this Saturday night against Sherman "Tank" Williams at the Greenbrier in White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia.

On American Morning, Holyfield tells Kiran Chetry how he stayed in shape for his upcoming fight and says, "The only reason you don't reach goals is because you quit."

Filed under: Sports
January 18th, 2011
07:28 AM ET

Next on the House Floor: 'Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law'

The House of Representatives begins debate this morning on H.R. 2 or as its named, "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act." Co-sponsored by Representative Steve King, R, Iowa and Representative Michele Bachmann, R, Minnesota, the bill hopes to repeal President Obama's health care reform legislation of last year. But with President Obama still in office and sure to veto any legislation the bill seems largely a symbolic effort.

Even amongst the public, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll out this morning shows that Obama's approval rating is up five points since last month and support for repealing isn't overwhelming.

Before the debate begins, Rep. Steve King joins T.J. Holmes on American Morning defending the bill and saying the effort is all in hopes of electing a new president in 2012.

Filed under: Capitol Hill • GOP • Health care